Wednesday, January 31, 2018


Try our new Black History Collection, which includes interesting "outside resources such sites as PBS, TeacherVision, and YouTube, as well as our own MHS resources, again, all in one place.

I am proud to introduce an innovative RESOURCE for our teachers and students called "Collections." Collections is new component within our Destiny Discover Resources, which is, as the name suggests, a “collection” of our MHS Resources, including books, ebooks, and databases, as well as free resources from the web on a particular subject - all in one place. I hope you will find it a useful tool to supplement your curriculum and add variety to your presentations.

Rather than students “Googling” all kinds of irrelevant ‘hits,’ on a topic, you can send them to one of our/your Collections that has every resource they will need.  Sending students on an open search, often results in them getting sidetracked (don’t we do this too?)  Instead, students can spend their time digging into the research by reading, watching videos, and learning all from within one “collection.”

How is this “different” than anything else?  It includes easy access to something you may not be familiar with called OER’s, Open Educational Resources, a partnership with the Department of Education that includes free, unlicensed/openly-licensed, and unrestricted content.  Many of these have lesson plans tied to State and National Standards.  

Another great feature of Collections is that YOU can also create your own. I welcome suggestions as to what kind of Collections you would like me to begin creating for you, and I am available to teach you how to build your own collections.  Within a collection, you can also easily include documents such as instructions, graphic organizers and rubrics so that directions and resources are all in one place.

Follett explains the appeal of Collections for teachers: Pair content with instructional goals and provide personalized learning for students. Save all your activities, pictures and videos in Collections to bring your lesson to life. Add already-created notes, worksheets, quizzes and more. Work virtually to curate supplemental materials for new units, lessons and projects. Add documents from Google Classroom or upload videos to set the stage for a lesson.

I hope you’ll try out this new tool soon.  It is a wonderful way to curate our OWN resources and add other free/educational resources as well.  Please contact me to learn more about building your own Collection!

Monday, January 8, 2018

Smile Makeover and Giant Dreams

  When I took the position of Library Media Center Specialist 4 years ago, I had a lot of dreams.   Winning a National Smile Makeover Contest for someone else was NOT one of them. Sometimes Dreams Come to Us in the Most Unusual Ways.

Happy New Year, 2018! I hope this first blog post of the new year gives you reason to smile. It is the celebration of an almost two-year journey, a dreams-do-come-true story chronicling how our library's presence on social media led to a local girl winning a National Smile Makeover Contest in an improbable intersection of circumstances - a New Year's viral video, @giantslibrary on Twitter, and a generous cosmetic dentist (Dr. Daniel Rubinshtein) from NYC. It is the inspirational story of a Smile Makeover for Haley Jordan, a 2012 MHS grad with Giant Dreams, who is well on her way to making them come true.  
It has been called the most important human gesture we can give - the smile. In Ron Gutman’s Ted Talk, The Hidden Power of Smiling, he reports that British researchers found that one smile can provide the same level of brain stimulation as up to 2,000 chocolate bars!   According to one article, smiling can increase your lifespan by 7 years! Sharing a smile costs nothing and reaps priceless benefits, making Haley's gift much more priceless than the aesthetic value alone.

Put aside the latest political press about Twitter.  This tale is a testament to the powerful capability of social media for good.  Haley’s story inspired Dr. Rubinshtein, and in turn, his spirit of giving inspires others to give back as well. His own version of Haley’s Smile Makeover has over 60,000 views!

Just after New Year’s 2016, Dr. Rubinshtein’s Smile Makeover Contest had gone viral.  As Marion High School’s Library Media Specialist, I saw the video on Twitter; a young dentist was offering a life-changing opportunity, the chance for a new smile. Immediately, I KNEW who could use that makeover, a former Marion High School alumni, who was part of a rising new YouTube sensation, The Fitness Marshall, consisting of three Marion grads, Bria McCarty (2011), Haley, and its creator, Caleb Marshall (2011). I went to work on my entry.  It would be a long shot; after all, this was a national contest; there would be thousands of entries.  

Two weeks later, I received a call from NYC - Haley was the winner! I felt like I’d won the lottery! True to his word, Dr. Rubinshtein paid for Haley’s travel as well as her dental care as she began traveling between Indiana and New York for her dental visits while she attended Ball State University.  It wasn’t long after Haley’s braces were put on, that her smile began to change.  By Christmas of the following year, it was already beautiful!  

While the online popularity of the Fitness Marshall continued to climb, in March of 2016,  Haley began her own youtube channel featuring makeup techniques and tips, as well as Vegan cooking segments.  

Meeting Dr. Rubinshtein
Eighteen months after her first consultation, on October 17, 2017, Haley underwent her final visit with Dr Rubinshtein. As a surprise for her, Dr. Rubinshtein invited me to fly to NYC to be there for the unforgettable celebration as Haley’s smile was completed.  I will always carry with me the joy of that afternoon, meeting Dr. Daniel in person, and seeing Haley’s beautiful smile without braces for the first time. Most of all, I’ll remember this improbable journey of generosity and heart.   In Giving Back: A New Year's Resolution for Social Media Celebrities, Barrett Wiseman identifies a new class of celebrity, “the social media influencer,” and challenges them to give back with consistent dedication, rather than the usual one-stop photo op or one-time donation.  

Dr. Marina Rubinshtein, Haley, Dr. Daniel Rubinshtein
Also known as “Dr. Snapchat,” Dr Rubinshtein went beyond what Wiseman suggested by committing to a long-term investment in Haley.  How easily he could’ve chosen someone closer to NYC, someone whose treatment would be over in a few months.  Instead, he spent almost a year and a half flying Haley back and forth from Indiana to NYC, making adjustments until all was just right. He is a rare giver and asks only that Haley give back as well.  One only has to catch her vlog and see her passion for helping others be healthy to know she is already doing that. She is generous with her time and engaged with her followers in ways that depict a sense of responsibility to give back.

Between the time of her initial consultation with Dr. Rubinshtein and Haley’s final visit, The Fitness Marshall has achieved star status with over a million subscribers!  “Its fans and popularity have grown beyond the groups wildest dreams and has granted Haley a life that once seemed unattainable.”     
                                      Jennifer Sherlock of jennacommunications 

Haley Jordan, Bria McCarty with HGTV's Drew Scott
and wife Linda. 
With a smile that matches her personality and lights up a room, Haley is due to publish her second cookbook this fall. Get her first cookbook on Amazon here:)

With his Smile Makeover Contest, Dr. Rubinshtein hoped to inspire others to “find ways to integrate your interests and skills with the needs of others.”  Although we all may not be in the position to offer such a substantial gift, we are capable of helping others, in both large and small ways.  Whatever ‘good’ you do, science, psychology, and the smiles of grateful people say it’s good for you as well as for them.  

May 2018 be filled with Giant Dreams and genuine smiles, both ones you give and ones you receive. With one smile, you CAN change your world. Never underestimate its power.  
See Haley’s VLOG to hear her reflections about her smile makeover.

Resources on the Positive Effects of a Smile and Giving Back

Monday, November 27, 2017



Congratulations to readers, Phyllicia Guy and Elizabeth Nielander! They were the first students to come in and choose new books the Monday after Thanksgiving break, making them an easy pick for this weeks gift-cards.  Thanks to the Marion High School Alumni for their generous donation of prizes! 

From now until Christmas break, we are continuing our Reading Revolution  to promote reading.  With every activity you participate in, you will have more chances to win a prize.

All you have to do is READ and share out what you are reading.

How do you PARTICIPATE? 

Check out a book, either in print or on our eShelf. 
Like us on Facebook. (MHS Media Giants)
Follow us on Instagram @giantslibrary
Follow us on Twitter @giantslibrary. 
and last but not least...@giantslibrary on Snapchat!


Increase your chances to win and promote reading by posting a selfie of you with your books to any of our social media platforms.  Tag us and use #giantsreading so everyone can know where to go for book recommendations. 

Monday, February 6, 2017

MHS Reading Revolution

2017 Reading Challenge (Reading Revolution)
#giantsread  #mhsreadingrevolution

Make a GIANT Resolution to Read… Join us for the MHS Reading Revolution.  


We are sponsoring a Reading for Fun initiative with activities to promote reading.  Students who participate will be entered into a drawing for gift cards and a grand prize at the end of the year. With every activity you participate in, you will have more chances to win a prize.

All you have to do is READ and share out what you are reading.

There are many ways to join:
  • You can stop by the library to sign up.  
  • Like our Facebook Page - MHS Media Giants
  • Follow us on Twitter or Instagram @giantslibrary
  • Join our “Groupme” App here or (see posters throughout the building and scan the qr code)

Our First Activity is a  “What are you reading now?” campaign.   Post a selfie of you with the book you are reading to any of our social media platforms with the hashtag #giantsreading.  This automatically enters you into the first drawing.  Seeing what others are reading may give you ideas about the next book you’ll want to try.

“But I don’t have time to read!”  You probably have more time than you realize.  Try limiting the time you spend on your phone playing a game or watching NetFlix.  You’ll be surprised at all the free time you have!

Watch for announcements as to other fun activities we will be doing.  

Monday, January 23, 2017


Here is a direct link to VOTE for "We Are Giants Library," a Hamilton Parody.  Please vote once a day through Friday to help us win money which will purchase innovative products such as 3-D printers to enhance learning.  See story below for more info on the making of this video.  So proud of these students!  


Monday, December 19, 2016

"We are Giants Library" Hamilton Parody

“Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story? From Broadway’s Hamilton.


The above video is only the recording of the SOUNDTRACK.  The final video with pictures to accompany the song will be released when voting is open in January. #Waitforit! 

Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016, a number of MHS students, alumni, and staff collaborated to create a mini-masterpiece in the hopes of winning a contest that could mean a huge leap in technology for our library media center. A work of art as well as ‘heart,’ it is the story of the transformation of our MHS Library Media Center and its shift to 21st Century Digital Learning told in song. The incredible genius of Lin-Manuel Miranda inspired the Hamilton parody (see collaborators below) that we hope will capture the judges’ attention. 

The video will be entered as part of our Follett Challenge entry, a national competition from our book company that awards from $8000 to $60,000 to winning schools. The written application allows 3100 words asking for statistics and data. What the questions seem to leave out is the place to adequately tell the story of the immeasurable, of the heart of who we are - which involves personal connections with students and staff. It is those connections that allowed for the creation of a most unusual project - the Follett Challenge Video. 

I'd like to take this space to give credit and thanks to all those who contributed, each in a unique way. 

First, to Liz Kelsay, one of my minions with whom I share a love of musical theater, who last year, urged me repeatedly to listen to Hamilton.  Thank you for your persistence! It has opened up a new world of history and believe it or not, hip hop:) When I approached her about writing a parody, she was the first to offer help. 

A few of the students performing are library ‘minions;' some students are just very talented and were recruited because of that:)  A few are from our marketing class and just happen to be CSA Community School of the Arts products from the time they were little. Many of them grew up under the direction of Mark Fauser  who, ironically, is in a position with our school system as the Marketing Sales and Creative Development Director, a position that allows him to give his time and expertise to young adults he once directed as young children. Mark is always willing to give time he often doesn't have to consult and encourage. It is Mark who worked with the marketing class teaching them the basics of iMovie, which continues to be invaluable. 

Thanks also to our very supportive principal, Keith Burke, who good-naturedly participates in just about anything he is asked to do, embarrassing or not;) 

Indirectly, MHS alumni, and now YouTube personality, Caleb Marshall (The Fitness Marshall) is involved, as we are using the new video equipment he recommended. Thanks also to another integral part of the Fitness Marshall team, Haley Jordan, who came in to give us our first tips in using the equipment. Teacher Mike Robertson took extra time watching ‘how-to’ videos on the use of the new camera making sure it was ready to go. A HUGE thank you to JAG teacher, Jean Wright, who gave me the gift of time and helped me focus on the writing portion, and  to our MCS Communications Director, Patricia Gibson, who came to cheer us on and also, as part of the application, wrote a beautiful description of our program from the administration's perspective. 

The HOURS of work that went into the making of this video are measurable, but the HEART that went into it is not. During the pressure of finals week, working around tests and papers, students willingly did take after take to get it just right. 

MHS Alumni (and daughter,) Regan Reese, helped me (on more than one wintry night) in the writing process, as did MHS students, Liz Kelsay and Sophie Orrell. Regan took her lunch hour to come in and record the soprano part. Elizabeth Weurtley and Regan spent critical time working on the harmonies (thank you!)  After MANY takes to record the track that will be used for the final video, alumni (and son) Riley Reese (also a CSA alum) spent 5 hours ‘mixing’ the MP3. 

EVERYONE is a key player in this project, but I want to give a special thanks to student Jonathan Walts, who took it upon himself to start creating the video with the karaoke track, before we had recorded our 'real' parts. When the bell rang for Christmas Break, Jonathan volunteered to take it home and finish it. It is that kind of passion and initiative that makes my job more than just a job. 

Finally, one more special thanks - to our Follett Representative, Sharon Welk, who has put her heart into guiding me through this project, through countless emails and phone calls. 

What makes our library media center extraordinary is that it's become a center for collaboration and skills that go beyond a typical assignment. It is a place where individuals or groups collaborate to make first-class projects, often for a grade, but in this case, for a chance to help our school earn money that will allow for incredible gains in technology, things such as 3-D Printers, Robotics, and Go-Pro Cameras. 

The Follett Challenge is a contest that includes a video and a lengthy application of 3100 words. The Criteria includes collaboration, critical thinking, creation, and creativity. The making of this video alone includes the BEST of that. Even if we don’t win this competition, we are winners who will remember this project, and the time we spent creating a unique little piece of history for Marion High School.     They are telling a part of OUR story.  

                                             And they did it beautifully. #grateful 

I might have given up if not for the help of Sophie Orrell, Regan Reese, and Liz Kelsay, my contributing editors:)

Performers: Jalen Springer, Amonte King, Regan Reese, Liz Kelsay, Elizabeth Wuertley, Sophie Orrell, Shakila Wingo, Macie McCarthy, DeShaun Coleman, Casey Reaves, Jonathan Walts, Kaleb Evans

Special Thanks to my children, Regan and Riley Reese, who each put hours into making this extra-special.   I couldn't be more proud of you. 

Icing on the cake for me is the reflection that 11 years ago, the same three adorable little boys in the lower right corner, who were in the same CSA Christmas show as I was, would grow up to be KEY Players in this endeavor. Thank you Casey, Jonathan, and Kaleb - my triple threats, as Fauser likes to say. 

Elizabeth Wuertley, fellow perfectionist, who helped with harmonies right down to the wire. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Remembering 9-11

May We Always Remember 9-11

For a number of years, I took 8th graders and their parents on a trip to NYC sponsored by an incredible teacher and his wife, Ray and Peg Casey - who took hundreds of students from all over Indiana.  Those trips remain some of my favorite memories.  The day the towers fell, we were collecting money for the 2002 trip.  It happened to be the first day Justice Middle School had Cable TV in all the classrooms; we watched in dismay, disbelief, and horror.

It would be two years before we took what would be my last student trip there...below is the link to a FB album of a very solemn visit to Ground Zero.  Visit to Ground Zero, 2003

As the anniversary approaches for September 11, here is a 9-11 Symbaloo of resources with many tiles that have multi-media and lesson plans.